The Big Five Countdown
2022 was our strongest year’s trading yet.
Rare stamps are rising in popularity with high net worth collectors and investors around the world.
In a recent article, John Lowe of Money Doctors, summed up what I think is the most important reason for heightened interest:
“Furthermore, postage stamps have always fared well in times of economic uncertainty. If you study the performance charts for the last five decades you will notice that there are no dramatic market corrections. Prices may be stagnant for periods – but they rarely fall.”
At the moment, a higher number of investors are looking at wealth protection above chasing big gains in a volatile environment where the downside can be 100%.
So, what areas of the stamp market are showing the most growth?
Last week, I revealed our top selling stamp countries from Number 10 to Number 6…
Today, I will reveal the hottest 5 countries in stamps right now.
These are the stamps we have found most in demand over the past year.
I am sure you will want to grab a piece of this action…
5. South Africa
The stamps of South Africa have always been popular with collectors.
With a complex postal history, they present a fascinating area of philatelic study attracting a large keen base of collectors.
The African stamp market is one of the hottest areas of the market with strong demand evident from higher auction realisations and rising catalogue values. It has outpaced most other areas of the stamp market in terms of momentum in the past 3 to 5 years.
The Government Official stamps, in particular, are very rare as they were originally not available for sale to the public. They are particularly difficult to find in fine condition.
The Orange Tree design is probably the most famous…
South Africa 1935-49 6d green and vermilion "Orange Tree" Official (die I), "SUID-AFRIKA" hyphenated, lower right corner horizontal pair, left stamp (R20/11) showing "Molehill" flaw, SGO24b.
A very fine mint pair with original gum. It is, in fact, unmounted mint, which is quite exceptional for this rare printing variety, although there is a tiny adhesion on gum.
The "Orange Tree" design is one of the most popular of the Union of South Africa stamps.
A very scarce printing variety in this positional form and most attractive quality.
Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £1,200.
Price: £850 (29% discount)
Canada saw increased popularity in the year. This was partly supported by the largest stamp exhibition to be held in Canada in the past 26 years taking place in June.
The exhibition, named CAPEX 22, was hosted by the Royal Philatelic Society and held in Toronto.
In my view, Canada is responsible for issuing some of the best stamp designs in the world. Throughout their postal history, they have strictly adhered to high quality issues with fantastic designs showcasing their unique culture.
Prices of most Canadian stamp rarities have proved stubbornly flat in the past few years and, I think, currently present great value. Also, when we consider the strength of the British Pound against the Canadian Dollar, it is cheaper than it has ever been for Canadian collectors to buy Canadian stamps from UK dealers and auctions.
Collectors of Canadian stamps are generally very condition focused and it is common to see premium quality examples sell for above Stanley Gibbons catalogue values.
This very fine example of an early issue from Newfoundland, the province of Canada, is a personal favourite of mine…
Newfoundland 1857-64 4d scarlet-vermilion on thick machine-made paper, SG4.
A fine used example with good to large margins, lightly cancelled by complete oval of bars. A most attractive example of this key stamp.
The first stamp issues of Newfoundland, after becoming self-governing in 1855, are considered classics of the British Empire with the Royal Crown and Heraldic flowers of Great Britain paying homage to the British Crown.
Accompanied with a British Philatelic Association certificate of authenticity (1990).
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £3,500.
Price: £3,250 (7% discount)
Australia goes up one place this year as our 3rd highest selling stamp country. Australia has always had one of the most vibrant home markets. It is also a country which benefits from widespread interest from collectors outside their own country.
Stanley Gibbons issued a new edition of their Australian stamp catalogue this year. Prices were extensively revised with many substantial increases to the Australian States issues as well as to some more modern stamp errors.
The outlook for Australian stamps remains positive. Despite the odds, Australia fared better than most against the global economic challenges of 2022. Their unemployment rates were low at around 3.5% and their economy grew by almost 6%.
The most famous stamp from Australia is their first one, “The Kangaroo and Map”.
It is a stamp that defined Australia’s bold and independent identity. It is so iconic that many hundreds of collectors dedicate their entire collection exclusively to this stamp issue.
The most important is the £2 stamp, which is the highest value denomination of that issue.
They are very difficult to find in fine condition, making this example a real treat…
Australia 1929-30 £2 black and rose 'Kangaroo and Map', watermark 7, SG114.
A very fresh and well-centred mint example with large part original gum.
A most attractive example of this key high value stamp.
The SG catalogue price is £4,500.
Price: £3,950 (12% discount)
China rises to 2nd place this year. Chinese stamp collectors account for one third of the number of stamp collectors in the world.
We witnessed continued strong demand from our Asian client base in the year.
The Chinese market was the strongest bull market in stamps for many years until 2017. As this growth was partly fuelled by investor speculation, there was an inevitable price correction with many prices falling, particularly for modern commemorative stamps.
Prices are now rising again, partly helped by the fact Chinese collectors and investors are much more comfortable now buying online.
I think the classic rarities of the Chinese Empire look like a good investment again.
Red is the Chinese national colour and represents happiness, beauty, success and good fortune.
The Red Revenue stamp issue has been called “China’s rarest regularly issued stamp”. In a 2013 auction in Hong Kong, one of the rarest examples sold for HK$6.9 million.
This fine mint example of the iconic Red Revenue surcharged stamps is a classic worthy of any investment portfolio…
China 1897 Large surcharge $1 on 3c deep red, SG91.
A fresh quality mint example with part original gum.
A scarce and popular stamp.
In 1897, the new Qing Dynasty government took charge of the Post Office. There was an immediate need for a large quantity of stamps, especially those of high value. While waiting for the delivery of new stamps from Japan a Provisional Issue was made using existing stock from the Imperial Customs.
A quantity of 600,000 of the 3c Revenue stamps received from England were surcharged with different values. The high value surcharged stamps, such as this $1 example, are very scarce and highly sought after by avid collectors.
The SG catalogue price is £6,000.
Price: £5,000 (17% discount)
1. Great Britain
As always, and no great surprise, our own home country remains the highest selling stamp country based on our sales in the past year.
Over the past year, we have witnessed much improved liquidity in the British stamp market with a clear increase in the number of new specialist collectors participating in the market.
The market was also helped to some extent by the equivalent to the Olympics for stamps being hosted in London this year. This was a once in a decade event, originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but postponed until February 2022 due to Covid restrictions.
We also noted many of the major British stamp dealers were buying up as much as possible in the year. This demonstrates a confidence in the future of the market amongst those “on the inside” and bodes well for the future.
Despite improved market conditions, there are still many cases where major British rarities are currently valued at prices below what they were trading at 10 years ago.
My view remains that buying major British philatelic rarities at current prices will prove a sound investment in the medium and long term.
One dynamic in particular we have seen this year is the rising number of specialist collectors of British stamps focusing more on postal history.
Consequently, I believe my final recommendation to you of 2022 is the one with the highest investment potential…
Great Britain 1840 2d Mulready letter sheet, Stereo A92 used with a pair of 1d blacks, plate 1b, SG2.
An exceptional example of the first printings of the penny black, plate 1, used to uprate the 2d Mulready letter sheet to four pence for weight up to 2 oz.
A very interesting and exceptionally rare piece with the addition of a ‘PB-PC’ pair of penny blacks in the grey-black shade showing considerable wear of the printing plate, which is normally associated with plate 1a.
The cover was sent from Stone to London on June 23rd, 1841.
The cover has esteemed provenance as it formed part of the Grand Prix multiple gold medal winning “Mayflower Collection”. This collection is the undisputed best collection ever assembled covering the beginning of GB postal history.
The collector behind the collection, Alan Holyoake, is now one of the most famous names in the stamp world and on the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.
Accompanied with a 1991 Royal Philatelic Society (RPS) clean certificate of authenticity.
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value for the 1840 2d Mulready letter sheet (ME3) with one 1840 1d black is £35,000.
Priced to sell at: £17,500 (50%++ discount)
2023 Here We Come
To purchase from my top recommendations, either:
- Place your order directly through our online store by clicking on the “CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW” icons
- Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call on +44(0)1534 639998
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Despite the current global economic woes, rare stamp collecting and investing is on the rise right now.
All the market indicators point to an exciting and highly lucrative 2023 in rare stamps.
Thank you ever so much for your business last year in what was a difficult year for many.
This year, we will try even harder to find the rare stamps you are looking for.
Here's to a happy and prosperous new year.
Mike Hall, CEO Just Collecting
PS. Feel free to drop me an e-mail to let me know what you are most interested in buying in 2023 so I can get to work early hunting for those philatelic treasures you most desire.P.S. Are you following us on social media? Find us here: